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F1: New Jersey On Huge 2014 calendar, Pirelli Staying In F1 Photo:
TMR Team | Sep, 30 2013 | 1 Comment

New Jersey is officially back on the F1 calendar for 2014, as the FIA published a huge 22-race schedule after its meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on Friday.

The meeting took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, where it was also finally confirmed that Pirelli is staying put as F1's official tyre supplier.

But the Italian marque's longer-term place on the grid is less assured, with the FIA announcing it will run a new tender process for suppliers in future.

"In order to cover the transition period and considering the contracts already settled by FOM and the teams with Pirelli, the (FIA) today confirmed that Pirelli may continue to supply tyres to competitors in (F1), subject to the requisite technical and safety standards of the FIA being met," read a media statement.

A huge 22-race calendar for 2014 was published, with New Jersey slotted back in with a June 1 date, but marked as provisional.

Also provisional are the races in Korea and Mexico, after F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone admitted recently a 20 or 21-race calendar is actually more realistic.



Minardi raises Vettel 'traction control' doubts

Former F1 team owner and boss Gian Carlo Minardi has raised doubts about the legitimacy of Sebastian Vettel's dominance in Singapore last weekend.

The 66-year-old, who sold his team before the 2001 season, was trackside at the Marina Bay circuit where Vettel commandingly won.

Minardi, whose Faenza based team was subsequently sold to Red Bull and became Toro Rosso, admits he has been troubled by Vettel's often multiple-second advantage over his rivals under the Singapore floodlights.

"It's not my intention to devalue Sebastian Vettel, who always manages his Red Bull in the best way," he told his website.

"I just want to tell what I personally saw and heard during the three day event," Minardi explained.

He said he is concerned that, while only just ahead of the likes of Lotus' Romain Grosjean and Mercedes' Nico Rosberg in the pre-race sessions, the reason for Vettel's subsequent dominance at key moments on Sunday is "not clear".

Referring to the stretch leading into the first chicane, Minardi said Vettel was able to negotiate it "without making any corrections, unlike all his rivals and also his teammate" Mark Webber.

"His laptime was also remarkable in T3, which is the track's sector with the highest concentration of corners," he added.

"On the same stretch, Sebastian was able to speed up 50 metres before any other driver, Webber included."

But the handling of the Red Bull was not the only thing troubling Minardi.

"The thing that surprised me the most was the engine's sound," he said.

"It sounded like none of the other Renault engines on track, including Mark's. It sounded similar to the engines in past seasons when traction control went into action.

"Furthermore, that sound was only heard when Vettel chalked up his excellent performances," added Minardi. "For example, after the safety car went in. In those moments it was more powerful (sounding) than any other engines -- Renault and the other brands.

"I would like to have some answers," he continued. "I don't want to blame anyone, I just want to get to the bottom of it."



Drivers could get sixth engine for bustling 2014 calendar

F1 drivers may be allocated an extra engine for next season, if the calendar really does swell to an unprecedented 22 races.

In 2013, the long-life engine rules dictate that drivers can use no more than eight V8 engines for the entire season.

But from next year, under the radical new turbo V6 rules, drivers will be penalised if they use more than just five 1.6 litre 'power units'.

It is expected that, when he presents the calendar to the World Motor Sport Council in Croatia on Friday, Bernie Ecclestone will have trimmed the schedule to 20 or 21 races.

But race director Charlie Whiting told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "If there are 22, we can talk about a sixth engine per driver."

The smaller teams, however, might not be happy with that.

Their engine bills are already doubling under the new V6 regime, and Auto Motor und Sport claims that just one extra engine will cost them an extra EUR 2 million.

And they will need yet another extra engine - perhaps two - for the new private testing in 2014.

"Every kilometre now costs us 800 euros," said Force India team manager Andy Stevenson. "Many of us can't afford these testing days."



FIA finally signs up to new Concorde

The FIA has finally signed on to a new Concorde Agreement.

In late July at the Hungaroring, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone sat down with FIA president Jean Todt and shook hands on the new deal through 2020.

But that was only a "framework" for the implementation of the Concorde, a tripartite agreement that binds the teams with the commercial rights holders and the FIA.

And it emerged on Friday that a "multi-party Concorde Agreement" is still yet to be concluded.

The big stumbling block, however - the FIA's new financial deal - has now been overcome, and the arrangement between the commercial rights holder and the FIA is now in "force", the Paris federation announced on Friday.

A statement said the agreement gives the FIA "significantly improved financial means".



Ferrari sent Webber bill for Singapore 'taxi'

Ferrari joined the 'taxi ride' fun after the recent Singapore grand prix, sending Mark Webber a hefty bill for hitching a ride back to the pits with Fernando Alonso.

Webber, who will serve a ten-place grid penalty in Korea next weekend, angrily slammed the stewards' decision to reprimand him after breaking down towards the end of last Sunday's race.

Spaniard Alonso, however, saw the funny side, posting on Twitter a photoshopped image of a film poster depicting himself and Webber in a taxi.

Ferrari apparently also joined the fun, as the German newspaper Bild published a joke invoice sent from the team's Maranello headquarters to Australian Webber.

The bill, listing the salesperson as 'Fernando', charged Webber a whopping $27,500 - including a $2,500 'tip' - for the 'after hours' taxi service.

F1 legend Niki Lauda, however, backed the FIA's decision to penalise Webber.

"Yes," he told Osterreich newspaper, "because it's against the rules, it's damn dangerous and because it was always punished with a warning."



Barrichello in frame for 2014 Sauber seat - report

Rubens Barrichello has emerged as a shock contender to drive for Sauber in 2014.

With Nico Hulkenberg expected to move either to Lotus or McLaren next year, Hinwil based Sauber has already said Russian teenager Sergey Sirotkin is set to make his debut in 2014.

But Sirotkin alongside team incumbent Esteban Gutierrez, 22, would constitute a very young and inexperienced lineup.

Barrichello, the 41-year-old Brazilian who lost his Williams seat at the end of 2011, would more than solve those problems.

His return to F1 would also be welcomed by Bernie Ecclestone, who has been working to help Felipe Massa find sponsors so that the grid is not represented by a Brazilian for the first time since 1970.

Former Ferrari and Honda driver Barrichello is also a winner of 11 grands prix, and according to Auto Motor und Sport he has burst back into contention for a 2014 seat with a reported 'two-digit million sum' in personal sponsorship.

Barrichello, who has been travelling to races this year as a pundit for Brazilian television Globo, is quoted as saying: "I would only have to train my neck.

"Then I could race tomorrow," the Paulista, who holds the record for the most grands prix ever contested by a driver, added.



Raikkonen exit could cost Lotus sponsors - Salo

Kimi Raikkonen's departure is a "terrible loss" for Lotus, and could cost the Enstone based team some sponsorship.

That is the view of former F1 driver Mika Salo, referring to fellow Finn Raikkonen's decision to switch to Ferrari next year, apparently for money reasons.

"Kimi's move is a terrible loss for Lotus," Salo told the MTV3 broadcaster.

"His market value is much higher than Grosjean's, so they (Lotus) will probably have some explaining to do to the sponsors."

On the other hand, there have been rumours Raikkonen's Lotus exit could also spell trouble for Ferrari.

Salo, however, said he spoke with a high-ranking Ferrari official in Singapore and asked him about those rumours.

"I asked quite directly if Alonso is going to leave, and he said he is not," said the 46-year-old, who in 1999 filled in at Ferrari for an injured Michael Schumacher.


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